South Africa extended strict COVID-19 rules on Sunday for an additional 14 days, maintaining restrictions that include a ban on gatherings, a 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew and a ban on the sale of alcohol .
The country, the most affected on the African continent in terms of recorded cases and deaths, is in the grip of a third wave of infections driven by the more infectious variant of the Delta coronavirus.
“Our nationwide healthcare system remains under pressure,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation.
Earlier this month, South Africa recorded a new record of more than 26,000 daily cases, stretching hospitals to breaking point.
Ramaphosa moved the country to level four on a five-level restriction scale in late June as infections rose, promising to review restrictions after two weeks.
On Sunday, he said the cabinet decided to maintain “adjusted alert level 4” for another 14 days, but restaurants could operate again subject to strict health protocols. Gyms would also be allowed to reopen under certain conditions.
Ramaphosa added that a government advisory committee was working on when the country could introduce Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine into the Covid-19 vaccination program.
Ramaphosa added that there was no justification for the violence following the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma, and the unrest was “hurting our efforts to rebuild the economy” amid the Covid pandemic -19.
“While there are those who may be hurt and angry at this time, there can never be any justification for such violent, destructive and disruptive actions.” Ramaphosa mentionned.